What Are the Best Ways to Teach My Kids Respect?
Most parents are often caught in the headlights of a disrespectful child. And it’s always a touchy subject for most parents. “Where did I go wrong?” “This is my fault.” “I should have done it differently.”
Well, first, calm down. Unless your child is 30 years old and has moved out of the house, you can always teach your kids to be respectful. But let’s narrow it down a bit.
What is Respect?
As defined: “a feeling of admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements;” “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”
Did the child display any disrespectful behaviors according to the definition of respect? If the child has yelled at you, it may have been brought on by anger, and the problem is not the lack of respect and courtesy; it’s about handling emotions better. If we deal with the root of the problem, respect will follow, and that feeling of being disrespected by your kids will disappear.
You should also consider the age of the child and how well they have learned their basic manners. In some situations, they didn’t mean to disrespect; they just didn’t know any better.
Before moving on, we need to keep in mind that respectful behavior begets respectful behavior.
If the child has done something disrespectful, get to the source of the problem before going off on them. Ask them kindly what happened that they think warranted that behavior. And just because someone is older than the kids does not mean they are respectable people. So give your child the benefit of the doubt; they might have just disrespected someone you might have punched if you were in their situation.
Now, after getting to the root of the problem, we still need to instill good behavior and teach our kids respect and common courtesy.
Be the Best Role Model for Them by Respecting Others.
As mentioned above, respect begets respect. Raising your child in a respectful environment will rub off on them. Teaching respect and common courtesy by being a respectful parent is the first step in building that foundation. Mind your manners when talking to your kids, and never talk down to them. It would also be helpful if you were vocal and tell them your feelings are hurt every time they display disrespectful behavior towards anyone.
Talk to Them About the Importance of Respect.
With a solid foundation of leading by example, slowly introduce to them the concept of respect and common courtesy. Teaching a child respect will not be a two-hour lecture; it is a constant check and correction where the family would voice out their concerns regarding each other’s behavior. It doesn’t always have to be a serious talk. A quick reminder and correction every now and then will suffice.
Teach Them About the Golden Rule
A great way to teach courtesy is to tell them about the concept of treating others the way you want others to treat you. Every time they display rude behavior, nudge them in the right direction and ask them how they would feel if it was done to them. You don’t even have to wait for an answer; just ask them to dwell on the question. A constant reminder will leave them with that thought behind their minds. They will eventually form a habit of thinking before acting rude.
Check Out: 6 Essential Life Skills Parents Should Teach Their Children
Teach Them how To Show Respect
It would be fun to teach kids how other cultures show respect and courtesy. For example, most Asian cultures have a whole rule on their language for talking respectfully and talking down to people. Of course, you should use this as an opportunity to compare the norms in your culture and sneakily have them analyze and internalize those respectful gestures.
Praise Them for Doing Things that Show Respect.
Positive reinforcement is always a good step to develop habits in children. Praise and reward should be given every time they show respectful behavior. Slowly wean them off this routine by raising the stakes. At first, start with a small reward for every instance, then a bigger reward for ten instances, and so on. It would be best not to offer a PS5 if they get through the year without any disrespectful behavior, though. You will be surprised how good these kids can be if there is something they really want.
Check Out: How to Teach Toddlers About Good Manners
Talk to Them About Self-Respect.
The best way to teach kids respect is by talking to them about self-respect.
We all have a right to feel good about ourselves, and it’s up to us to make sure that we do. We need to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and find the courage each day to improve those areas that we’re not too happy with. Help your children learn about themselves and make sure they understand the importance of taking care of themselves. Let them know that you admire their qualities and they should give abilities and achievements due regard. This will help them become a respectful child without becoming a pushover.
Now, all children are not the same, and each home has different family dynamics, so some of the tips may not be applicable to your norms. But a couple of things should be universal: be gentle with them and be patient because it takes time for any child to learn new things, and finally, love your kids as much as possible at all times. It would be great to share your tips on how your parents taught you respect or how you teach your children so that other parents can have some ideas on building a respectful relationship with their children. And as always, have a great day with the kids!